|Publication number||US20060150079 A1|
|Application number||US 11/016,221|
|Publication date||Jul 6, 2006|
|Filing date||Dec 17, 2004|
|Priority date||Dec 17, 2004|
|Also published as||US8230326, US8539346, US20080222512|
|Publication number||016221, 11016221, US 2006/0150079 A1, US 2006/150079 A1, US 20060150079 A1, US 20060150079A1, US 2006150079 A1, US 2006150079A1, US-A1-20060150079, US-A1-2006150079, US2006/0150079A1, US2006/150079A1, US20060150079 A1, US20060150079A1, US2006150079 A1, US2006150079A1|
|Inventors||Jordi Albornoz, Lee Feigenbaum, Douglas Fish, Sean Martin, Hoa Tran, David Wall|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Referenced by (77), Classifications (10), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is related to the commonly owned, co-pending U.S. patent application, U.S. Ser. No. 10/600,014, filed Jun. 20, 2003, entitled, “Universal Annotation Management System” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to data management. More particularly, the present invention relates to managing annotations stored for a one version of a data source and making the annotations available to other versions of the data source.
2. Description of the Related Art
There are well-known methods for capturing and storing explicit knowledge as data using a computer system. Common methods for storing data include databases, word-processor documents, text files, spread-sheets, and many other formats for storing and retrieving data. Oftentimes, such data is analyzed by various individuals (e.g., experts, technicians, managers, researchers, etc.), resulting in rich interpretive information referred to as tacit knowledge.
Generally, tacit knowledge is knowledge that is not made explicit. It may be highly personal, is oftentimes very transient, and usually requires joint, shared activities to be transmitted. Examples of tacit knowledge include subjective insights, intuitions, facts learned from conversational exchanges, and hunches. Despite its highly valuable quality, tacit knowledge is often only temporarily captured, for example, as cryptic notes in a lab notebook, discussions, conversations, instant messaging exchanges, e-mails messages, and other transient communications. Thus, because it is typically not captured systematically, tacit knowledge is often lost.
One approach to capture tacit knowledge is to create annotations about explicit data. Virtually any identifiable type of data appearing in a data source may be annotated, including, a matrix of data such as a spreadsheet or database table, a text document, an image, or multi-media data. Further, sub-portions of objects (sub-objects) may be annotated, for example, an individual cell, row or column in a database table or a page, section, paragraph or word in a text document.
An annotation system stores descriptive information about objects, or parts of objects, without modifying the objects directly. An annotation store, typically a database, stores descriptive information for an annotation, and an indexing scheme maps each annotation to the object, or position within the object. An advanced annotation system, such as the one described in a commonly owned, co-pending application entitled “Universal Annotation Management System” U.S. Ser. No. 10/600,382 stores annotations separately from the corresponding data object and associates the annotations with an identifier that is location-independent. That is, the identifier does not depend on the location of a data source in a file system hierarchy or existence in a given database. Typically this identifier is derived from the document contents rather than from location artifacts such as filename, path, URL, etc.
Problems arise, however, when the contents of an annotated data source are changed. Oftentimes, the annotation created for the unmodified document is still useful for the modified document. For example, where a group of individuals collaborates on the contents of a data source, or where the modifications introduce additional content, and do not disturb the content that was originally annotated, the annotations should be carried forward to subsequent versions of the data source. The annotations, however, may refer only to the original data source, and not the modified version. Hence, annotations may become orphaned when an original document is modified.
One current method to prevent annotations from being orphaned involves storing the annotations directly within the document containing the annotated data. This solution, however, is not always possible, and more importantly, limits collaboration since a user who desires to view annotations must ensure that they are looking at the latest version of a document.
Another solution involves using a document management system to record and maintain associations between versions of a data source. The annotation system is configured to lookup annotations in other versions of a data source based on the version hierarchy stored by the document management system. The main drawback to this approach is that it imposes the strict use of a document management system which requires users to formally check-in and check-out documents, and also imposes other heavy processes that consume system resources.
Accordingly, there remains a need for techniques to provide an annotation system that manages annotations created for different versions of a data source that do not depend on storing the annotations with the data source. Such techniques should also lack the complexity and requirements imposed by a complex document management system.
The present invention generally provides methods, systems, and articles of manufacture providing an annotation system that manages annotations created for different versions of a data source family. Annotations created for one version of a data source may be viewed in context from both subsequent and prior versions of the same data source.
Generally, embodiments of the invention associate annotations with both a data source “family identifier” (family ID) as well as a “version identifier” (version ID) where the family ID is an identifier that is embedded in the data source. Other than adding the family ID to the data source, the data source may remain unchanged by the annotation system. The family ID is maintained across different versions of the data source, whereas version IDs are determined for a specific version of the data source. Version IDs can be constructed from each data source directly, and do not need to be stored.
One embodiment of the invention provides a method for associating annotations with a data source family. The method generally includes, receiving a request to create a first annotation for data content in an initial version of a data source; generating a family identifier, wherein the family identifier is associated with the initial version of the data source and with subsequent versions of the data source, and obtaining annotation content for a first annotation associated with a portion of data content in the initial version of the data source. The method generally further includes, associating the first annotation with the family identifier and with the initial version of the data source; and storing the family identifier in the initial version of the data source.
Another embodiment of the invention provides a method of displaying annotations created for different versions of a data source. The method generally includes determining a family identifier associated with the data source and determining a version identifier associated with the data source. The method generally further includes retrieving, from an annotation store, a set of one or more annotation records wherein each annotation record indicates the family identifier and the version identifier of the data source associated with the annotation record, and displaying, for each annotation record with a version identifier matching the version identifier associated with the data source, an indication that annotation content is available for data content in the data source.
Another embodiment of the invention provides a computer-readable medium containing a plurality of instructions that when executed on a computer system perform operations. The operations generally include receiving a request to create a first annotation for data content in an initial version of a data source, generating a family identifier, wherein the family identifier is associated with the initial version of the data source and with all subsequent versions of the data source, and obtaining annotation content for a first annotation associated with the data content in the initial version of the data source. The method generally further include, associating the first annotation with the family identifier and the initial version of the data source, and storing the family identifier in the initial version of the data source.
Another embodiment of the invention provides a computer-readable medium containing a plurality of instructions which, when executed on a computer system is configured to perform operations for displaying annotations created for different versions of a data source. The operations generally include determining a family identifier associated with the data source, and determining a version identifier associated with the data source. The operations generally further include retrieving, from an annotation store, a set of one or more annotation records wherein each annotation record indicates the family identifier and the version identifier of the data source associated with the annotation record, and displaying, for each annotation record with a version identifier matching the version identifier associated with the data source of the data source, an indication that annotation content is available for data content in the data source.
Another embodiment of the invention provides a system for managing annotations for multiple versions of a data source. The system generally includes an annotation management application configured to associate different versions of a data source with a common family identifier, a database used to store annotations created for the multiple versions of a data source; and an interface configured to display an indication of annotations created for a current version of a data source and an indication of annotations created for other versions of the data source.
Another embodiment of the invention provides a system for managing annotations created for multiple versions of a data source. The system generally includes an annotation management application configured to associate different versions of the data source with a common family identifier and to associate annotations created for the data source with both a family identifier and a version identifier, a database used to store annotations created for the multiple versions of a data source, and an interface configured to display an indication of annotations created for a current version of a data source, and configured to display an indication of annotations created for other versions of the data source.
So that the manner in which the above recited features, advantages and objects of the present invention are attained and can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to the embodiments as illustrated by the appended drawings.
The appended drawings, however, illustrate only typical embodiments of the invention and should not, therefore, be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.
Embodiments of the invention provide methods, systems, and articles of manufacture for managing an annotation system that includes annotations created for multiple versions of a data source (i.e., a data source that begins with an initial version and is subsequently modified to create a family of versions). Annotations created for one version of the data source may be viewed in context from both subsequent and prior versions of the same data source.
Embodiments of the invention associate annotations with both a data source “family identifier” (family ID) as well as a “version identifier” (version ID) where the family ID is an identifier that is embedded in the data source. Other than adding a family ID to the data source, the data source remains unchanged by the annotation system. The family ID is maintained across different versions of the data source, whereas version IDs are determined for a specific version of the data source. Version IDs can be constructed from each document directly, and do not need to be stored.
When annotations are created, the family ID is retrieved from the data source (or one is created if none exists). Annotations are associates with both the specific version of the document (through the version ID) and to the family ID. When annotations are retrieved for a data source, a query for the family ID will return all annotations created for any version of the data source. In one embodiment, annotations may include metadata that indicates both the family ID and the version ID for the annotation. Further, one annotation may reference multiple version IDs. This allows users to distinguish between annotations created for the current version and annotations from other versions. In one embodiment, annotations created for the current version are displayed relative to the annotated content of the current version using an icon display. Annotations created for other versions may be viewed in context by displaying the other version of the data source associated with the annotation alongside the current version of the data source.
As used herein, the term annotation generally refers to any type of descriptive information associated with data elements in a data source. Annotations may be captured in a variety of forms, including textual annotations (descriptions, revisions, clarifications, comments, instructions, etc.), graphical annotations (pictures, symbols, etc.) or sound recordings. While an annotation may exist in any of these forms, embodiments of the invention may be described below with reference to textual annotations as a particular, but not limiting, example of an annotation. Accordingly, as persons of ordinary skill in the art will understand, the following techniques described with reference to textual annotations made for a document (e.g., a document created using word-processing software) may also be applied to other types of annotations.
As used herein, the term “data source” refers to any type of content containing data object, including without limitation, text documents, database records, database tables, spreadsheets, schematics, images, multi-media, and any other data source used by an application program to create manage, edit, store, view and/or analyze data. To help provide an understanding of the invention, embodiments of the invention are described using a document as a particular type of data source. While the following description may refer to a graphical user interface (GUI), those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the same functionality may be provided through a non-graphical user interface, such as a command line, and further, that similar information may be exchanged between automated agents (e.g. a software daemon configured to generate annotations) via an automated interface.
In the following description, reference is made to embodiments of the invention. The invention is not, however, limited to any specifically described embodiment. Rather, any combination of the following features and elements, whether related to a described embodiment or not, implements and practices the invention. Furthermore, in various embodiments the invention provides numerous advantages over the prior art. Although embodiments of the invention may achieve advantages over other possible solutions and the prior art, whether a particular advantage is achieved by a given embodiment does not limit the scope of the invention. Thus, the following aspects, features, embodiments and advantages are illustrative and are not considered elements or limitations of the appended claims except where explicitly recited in a claim. Likewise, references to “the invention” shall neither be construed as a generalization of any inventive subject matter disclosed herein nor considered an element or limitation of the appended claims except where explicitly recited in a claim.
One embodiment of the invention is implemented as a program product for use with a computer system such as, for example, the computer system 100 shown in
In general, software routines implementing embodiments of the invention may be part of an operating system or part of a specific application, component, program, module, object, or sequence of instructions such as an executable script. Such software routines typically comprise a plurality of instructions capable of being performed using a computer system. Also, programs typically include variables and data structures that reside in memory or on storage devices as part of their operation. In addition, various programs described herein may be identified based upon the application for which they are implemented. Those skilled in the art recognize, however, that any particular nomenclature or specific application that follows facilitates a description of the invention and does not limit the invention for use solely with a specific application or nomenclature. Furthermore, the functionality of programs described herein using discrete modules or components interacting with one another. Those skilled in the art recognize, however, that different embodiments may combine or merge such components and modules in many different ways.
Physical View of the Annotation Environment
Users typically create annotations by interacting with software that may be embedded within their particular applications (e.g., as a plug-in component illustrated for application 120 2) or, alternatively, with a separate annotation application that is external to their applications, for example, a stand-alone browser or custom application.
The annotations 132 may be stored in a central annotation repository such as annotation store 130, which may be searched either independently or in conjunction with the annotated data. Annotations 132 describe various data sources, such as documents 117 1 generated by the manager with a first application 120 1 (e.g., a word processor), chemical data 117 2 manipulated by a chemist with a second application 120 2 (e.g., a database application), and biological data 117 N (e.g., genomic data) generated by a biologist with an Nth application 120 N (e.g., a custom application).
In one embodiment, a user establishes a network connection between client system 105 and annotation server system 110. Such a connection may include a login process wherein a user authenticates the user's identity to the server system 110 using, for example, a username and password or other authentication schemes (e.g., digital certificates or biometric authentication). Systems that do not require authentication are also contemplated.
The server system 110 may include hardware components similar to those used by client system 105. Accordingly, the server system 110 generally includes a CPU, a memory, and a storage device, coupled one another by a bus. The server system 110 is also running an operating system, (e.g., a Linux® distribution, Microsoft Windows®, IBM's AIX® or OS/400, FreeBSD, and the like) that manages the interaction between hardware components and higher-level software applications.
The client/server configuration illustrated in
In one embodiment, users interact with the server system 110 using a graphical user interface (GUI). In a particular embodiment, GUI content may comprise HTML documents (i.e., web-pages) rendered on a client computer system 1051. In such case, application 120 may comprise a known web-browser. In such an embodiment, the server system 110 includes a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http) server 118 (e.g., a web server such as the open source Apache web-sever program or IBM's Web Sphere® program) configured to respond to HTTP requests from the client system 105 and to transmit HTML documents to client system 105. The web-pages themselves may be static documents stored on server system 110 or generated dynamically in response to HTTP requests from client system 105.
As illustrated in
Each family ID may comprise a unique value generated for a document family. As used herein, a document family generally comprises successive versions of a document. Each time the document is modified (i.e., new content is added, current content removed, or some combination thereof) a new version ID is generated for the document, and the family ID is associated with the new version. In one embodiment, the version ID may be generated dynamically when needed form a particular version of the document. For example, a version ID may comprise a hash value such as an MD5 or SHA1 hash of the current version of the document in the document family. The family ID may comprise a universally unique identifier such as an OID or GUID. Alternatively, a hash value corresponding to the first version of the document may be used as the family ID. Whether generated using hash functions or GUID values however, the family ID is associated with all versions of a document for a given family, and the version IDs are unique to each version of a document. To facilitate the description of the invention, simple character identifiers are used to represent family and version IDs.
Initially, at state 502, the document metadata 512 indicates family ID “1” and version ID “A.” The document contains a single annotation 532. These IDs are reflected in the annotation store at 522. At document state 504, a second annotation 534 is added to the document, and the annotation store 534 is updated with the second annotation. The version ID in metadata 514 remains unchanged at state 504, because no changes are made to document 504, only to the annotations. In one embodiment, annotations are stored independently from the document, and adding annotations to an uncharged document do not require an update to the version ID.
Subsequently, new content 507 is added to the document at state 506. Once the document is modified and saved, the version ID “A” is longer valid. Accordingly, the annotation manager 140 may be configured to update the version ID stored with annotation metadata with a new version ID. In one embodiment, the annotation manager also saves a copy of the new document version. Doing so allows annotations created for a given version to be displayed in context of that version. As illustrated, the Version ID stored in metadata 516 is updated to “B,” at state 506. Also, the first and second annotations created for the prior version are no longer displayed with the document because the version ID corresponding to these annotations refers to a prior version ID (namely, version ID “A”). Further, the state 506 includes a third annotation 538. As illustrated, the third annotation 538 is created for data from new content 507, however, annotations may be created for any portion of the document 506.
Annotation store 526 includes the first and second annotations, indexed to the prior document version ID, along with the third annotation. If a user accesses the prior version and requests annotations, the annotation server 140 will return the “*” and “**” annotations. All three annotations are indexed to the same document family ID, “1”, and a query for all of the annotations in the document family will return annotations “*”, “**”, and “***.” At state 508, the document includes the view prior annotations display 509 from
In one embodiment, a user interacting with the annotation manager 140 may choose to associate annotations from other versions of the document with the current one. Accordingly, document state 510 illustrates the document with annotation 542 and 544 which represent the annotations from document state 504 re-associated with the current document. As illustrated, the database store 530 includes index for annotation “*” and “**” for both the “A” version of the document and the “B” version of the document. In one embodiment, when an annotation is associated with the current version of the document, it is no longer displayed in the display area 509.
At step 634, the annotation manager 140 prompts a user for new annotation content. At step 636, the new annotation is stored in the annotation store with the family ID and new version ID. While the user interacts with the document, additional new annotations may be created. Thus, loop 635 illustrates that step 634 and step 636 may be repeated. One a user has finished modifying a document, the modified document is saved. Optionally, at step 640, the annotation manager 140 may prompt the user to selectively choose which annotations from the previous version are still relevant to the modified version. At step 642, if the user has chosen to include any annotations from a prior version into the current version of the document, then any selected annotations are modified to include a reference to the version ID of the current document. Alternatively, a new annotation (copying the annotation from the other version) may be created that includes the version ID from the current document, e.g., the “*” and “**” duplicated for both versions of the document in annotation store 530.
At step 655, annotations created for other versions of the document are identified. That is, at step 655, annotations created for prior, or subsequent, versions of the current document are identified by identifying annotations with a matching family ID, but different version IDs.
At step 656, an indication of annotations identified at steps 654 and 655 are displayed. In an environment employing a graphical user interface, this may include displaying an annotation icon at the point in the data source corresponding to the annotation. In one embodiment, an annotation icon may comprise an image displayed for an anchor tag in an HTML document like the following:
<A href=http://annotations.ibm.com/retreive_global.php?index=1729/><IMG SRC=icon.gif“WIDTH=“15”HEIGHT=“15”BORDER=“0”></A>
This way, the annotation ID, 1729 in this example, is encoded into the display of the document. Doing so simplifies the annotation retrieval process and improves the efficiency of the annotation manger running 140 on server system 110.
Also, at step 656 an indication of the availability of annotations from other versions is displayed. For example, the prior annotation window illustrated in
If a user requests to view an annotation created for the current version of the document (e.g., clicks on an annotation icon displayed at step 656), then at step 660, the annotation corresponding to the index value encoded in the icon is used to retrieve the annotation from the annotation store 630. If a user requests to view an annotation created for a different version of the document in the document family, then at step 662, the annotation created for the another version is retrieved. In addition, at step 664, the annotation manger 140 may be configured to retrieve the version of the document in the document family used to create the annotation at step 662. Doing so allows a user to view an annotation from another version of the current document in the same context that it was created. Next at step 666, a user may choose to associate an annotation originally created for a different version of the document in the family with the version ID of the current document.
By associating annotations with both a family ID and a version ID, embodiments of the invention provide a convenient annotation system that manages annotations created for a document family. Users may view annotations for the current version of a document, as well as annotations created for prior, or subsequent, versions of the same document. Because these annotations may still be useful for the current document, users may selective choose to associate annotations from other versions with the current version of a document.
While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.
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|U.S. Classification||715/230, 707/E17.008, 707/999.203, 707/999.202|
|International Classification||G06F17/30, G06F17/24|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F17/30011, G06F17/241|
|European Classification||G06F17/30D, G06F17/24A|
|Apr 7, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ALBORNOZ, JORDI A.;FEIGENBAUM, LEE D.;FISH, DOUGLAS R.;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20041214 TO 20050321;REEL/FRAME:016025/0448